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Friday, June 29, 2018

New South Wales road trippers encouraged to get off the beaten track


A new $2 million NSW road trips campaign is now underway, designed to entice more travellers off the major highways and experience some of the State's inviting rural and regional towns.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall joined Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson in Tamworth today highlighting one of the iconic NSW inland drives, Fossickers Way.

"While the State continues to attract visitors in record numbers, we've upped the ante with the new marketing program which will provide an even bigger boost to rural and regional NSW economies," Mr Marshall said.

"For the first time, we've teamed up with global music service, Spotify, to provide listeners with personalised playlists matched to their own road trip itinerary.

"Along with an aggressive marketing campaign, we're designing an online interactive trip planner with curated itineraries and maps to allow more people to select a journey based on the kind of NSW experience they're looking for.

"Whether it's food and wine trails, coastal scenic routes or outback adventures, the road trip itineraries and maps can be accessed from any mobile device and shared amongst family and friends."

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the drive itineraries would enable smaller towns, such as Nundle, Manilla, Barraba and Werris Creek to get benefit from more tourist dollars in the town.

"More than 150 rural and regional towns will be promoted through this program, helping to boost local economies by inspiring people to visit, eat, play and stay in Australia's number one State," Mr Anderson said.

"Each NSW region has an incredible story to tell and I encourage Aussies and international visitors to discover more of Australia's most geographically diverse State by car," Mr Anderson concluded.

For more information on how to plan your NSW road trip, go to

Monday, June 25, 2018

SeaLink's New Food, Wine & Kangaroo Island Self Drive Packages

Discover South Australia's most loved wine regions and one of Australia's unspoilt treasures – Kangaroo Island, with SeaLink's new self-drive holiday packages. As a bonus, packages also include a 30-day Entertainment Digital Membership, offering savings of up to 25% and fantastic 2-for-1 deals at many of South Australia's top restaurants, attractions and activities.

There are three six-day Self-Drive holiday packages to choose from including the South Australia Food and Wine Getaway, the Barossa and Kangaroo Island package and the Hahndorf, McLaren Vale and Kangaroo Island package.

Helping to save hundreds of dollars, all self-drive packages include the bonus Entertainment Digital Membership. The membership provides hundreds of discounts and 2-for-1 deals at many restaurants, cafes, art attractions and shopping destinations in Adelaide, Adelaide Hills, Barossa and Fleurieu Peninsula. The 30-day membership can be self-activated prior to travel so benefits can be utilised before, after and during holiday packages.

The South Australia Food and Wine Getaway combines coach touring and self-drive and explores the city of Adelaide, the Barossa region on a choice of two food and wine coach tours and Kangaroo Island to discover the Island's unique local wines and produce, pristine beaches, fascinating wildlife, amazing attractions and spectacular coastal scenery.

The six-day South Australia Food and Wine Getaway is priced from A$1189 per person, twin share and includes three nights' accommodation at the Stamford Plaza Adelaide, Barossa Food & Wine Experience day tour or Barossa & Hahndorf Highlights day tour, the three Day Food & Wine Lover's Package including: return SeaLink coach and ferry travel to Penneshaw, three days hire car with Budget Rent-A-Car Kangaroo Island, two nights' accommodation in a Seafront Room at Kangaroo Island Seafront, Penneshaw including fully cooked breakfast daily and a  bottle of Kangaroo Island wine on arrival, wine tasting and a savoury platter at Bay of Shoals Wines, a A$60 dinner voucher for Penny's Restaurant at the Penneshaw Hotel, Gourmet lunch at Dudley Wines including a bucket of prawns or create a platter (to the value of $25) and a gourmet pizza plus a glass of wine and a 30 Day Entertainment Holiday Digital Membership.

The Barossa and Kangaroo Island self-drive package visits the iconic Barossa wine region for two nights, before heading to explore Australia's third largest Island, Kangaroo Island.

The six-day Barossa and Kangaroo Island package is priced from A$765.50 per person twin share and includes six-day hire car from Adelaide Airport or CBD, return SeaLink ferry for two adults and a standard size vehicle, two night's accommodation at Lyndoch Hills, Barossa, two nights' accommodation at Kangaroo Island Seafront, Penneshaw, one-night accommodation at Sage Hotel Adelaide and a 30-Day Entertainment Holiday Digital Membership.

The six-day Hahndorf, McLaren Vale and Kangaroo Island self-drive package discovers the sights of Adelaide, the picturesque Adelaide Hills, the historic German town of Hahndorf, beautiful McLaren Vale wine region and Kangaroo Island.

The six-day Hahndorf, McLaren Vale and Kangaroo Island package is priced from A$757.50 per person twin share and includes six-day hire car from Adelaide Airport or CBD, return SeaLink ferry for two adults and a standard size vehicle, one nights accommodation at Sage Hotel Adelaide, one nights accommodation at The Manna of Hahndorf, two night's accommodation at Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge, one nights accommodation at McLaren Vale Motel and Apartments and a 30 Day Entertainment Holiday Digital Membership

For further information and bookings

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Wanaka’s Treble Cone ski area fired up for opening this weekend


Snowguns are firing, temperatures dropping and excitement's building for Treble Cone ski area's official opening this Saturday (June 23).

Treble Cone's opening five days earlier than scheduled thanks to healthy pre-season snowfalls. And right on cue the mountain's snowguns have been firing this week just as meteorologists are predicting "significant" natural snowfalls early next week.

For TC's loyal fanbase the news couldn't be better.

The lucky riders of the first five chairs on the Home Basin Express will be rewarded for their chilly early morning 'camp out' with coveted 'First on the Chair' T-shirts and a $30 lunch voucher each, so they can sample items from the delicious new mountain menu.

Opening day will be celebrated in style with free Amisfield bubbles in the plaza, and season pass holders can fuel up for a big day on the slopes with tasty (and free) egg and bacon rolls between 8.30am to 10am, or while stocks last.

The ski area is reporting plenty of snow across the mountain, with 75cm at the top of the Saddle Basin Quad, 70cm at the top of the Home Basin Express and 25cm at the base.

All lifts will be open and operating from Saturday morning, including the Saddle Basin lift accessing some of the mountain's most extensive terrain for intermediate and expert skiers and boarders.

Treble Cone General Manager Toby Arnott says the hard work behind the scenes to open early will be worth it over the weekend.

"The warm welcome to Treble Cone starts at the bottom of our ski area access road this year with a new coffee cart serving up coffee, pastries and wraps for breakfast on the go," he says.

"That bottom car park also features a new Airstream caravan with a staff member on board to help guests buy passes, lessons or rental gear before they even reach the base building.

"We're operating a free new Treble Cone Shuttle service from the car park so guests can park up, grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy the view without worrying about snow on the road or the hassle of fitting chains, a great door-to-door service."

In addition, a Wanaka/Treble Cone Express will depart Wanaka daily at 7.30am and 9.30am, picking up at key hotels and the Treble Cone town office with return trips leaving at 2pm and 4pm.

It's a complimentary service for those who have bought a lift pass or lessons but must be booked through guests' hotel concierge or online daily at

"Conditions are currently fantastic on the mountain and we can't wait to welcome our first guests," says Toby.

"We have the highest elevation of any ski area in the region and if the forecasts are right we're looking to receive a serious amount of snow early next week which should ensure outstanding conditions leading into July.

"People want to ride and our team's been working around the clock to deliver an experience that will be well worth the wait!"

All mountain facilities will be operating from Saturday onwards including rentals, lessons and a full F&B service.

In anticipation of opening, it's recommended that season pass holders visit the town office to collect their pass early. With staff training being finalized on the mountain, the office is open from 3pm to 6pm on Thursday and 1pm to 6pm on Friday.

Normal winter office hours are 7am until 6pm. Day or multi-day passes can be bought online.

Picture captions (please credit Jackson Lana):

1/ Untracked – Treble Cone's Saddle Basin is ready and waiting for opening on Saturday June 23


On Location Tours brings you up close to the lights, camera and action!

Take a TV & movie tour with On Location Tours to follow in the footsteps of your favorite TV and movie characters. On Location Tours is a one-of-a-kind sightseeing company that offers unique TV and movie-themed bus tours in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Each tour highlights popular sites featured on the big and small screens. Celebrating 19 years in business, the company is one of the East Coast’s most popular tourist attractions and is one of the world’s largest TV and movie tour companies.

Six separate bus tours and one walking tour are currently offered in New York City: NYC TV & Movie Tour, Sex and the City Hotspots Tour, Gossip Girl Sites Tour, Sopranos Sites Tour, The Super Tour of NYC: Heroes! Comics! More! TCM Classic Film Tour, When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour, Holiday Lights & Movie Sites Tour, and Central Park TV & Movie Sites walking tour. On Location Tours also operates the Boston Movie Mile walking tour as well as private group tours in Boston. All tours are led by local actors who offer inside industry information from a first-hand perspective.

Cafe Lalo from 'You've Got Mail'

The NYC TV & Movie Tour features more than 40 locations from some of the most popular TV shows and movies that use NYC as a backdrop. This three-hour tour showcases locations from Friends, Seinfeld, American Hustle, Glee, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Trainwreck, Mr. Robot, Birdman, Girls, The Smurfs, Spider-man, How I Met Your Mother, The Amazing Spider-man, Marvel’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones, and so much more. This tour is available in French via an app on your smartphone.

The Sex and the City Hotspots Tour includes more than 40 locations from the hit TV show and both movies. Follow in the footsteps of Carrie & Co. to see where they shop, drink and dine. Locations include the site of Big and Carrie’s rehearsal dinner, the shop where Charlotte bought her “Rabbit,” the bar owned by Aidan and Steve in the series and Carrie’s stoop. This tour is available in German via a new PocketGuide App on your smartphone.

Ghostbusters fire station

Experience a day in the life of Manhattan’s privileged Upper East Siders on the Gossip Girl Sites Tour. See The Palace Hotel, home to the Bass and van der Woodsen families, The Constance Billard School for Girls, Dylan’s Candy Bar, and shop at Henri Bendel, where Blair and Serena frequent. There are more than 40 locations on this tour.

New Jersey is the destination for Sopranos Sites Tour, covering more than 40 locations from the hit show. The Bada Bing, the Muffler Man and Pizzaland are some of the highlights.

Pizzaland from Sopranos

Comic fans from around the world can unite in New York City on The Super Tour of NYC: Heroes! Comics! More! See where your favorite superheroes from The Avengers, Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Jessica Jones and so much more saved the day on this three-hour guided bus tour.

Go back in time on the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Tour to see some of the most iconic locations from the most filmed city in the world. This tour gives movie lovers the opportunity to connect with the TCM brand and share their passion for great films in a unique way. See locations from King Kong, Woody Allen’s Manhattan, The Seven Year Itch, North by Northwest, Superman, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and so much more.

The When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour takes a look at TV & movie locations above Times Square - bringing fans closer to some of the most famous uptown locations featured on the big and small screens. The tour is inspired by classic shows that epitomize NYC such as Seinfeld and romantic comedies including When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail. Locations from recent hits like Trainwreck, Pitch Perfect, How To Be Single, The Amazing Spider-Man, Gossip Girl and The Other Guys give this tour a fresh twist.

How I Met Your Mother in McGee's Pub

The Holiday Lights & Movie Sites is a seasonal tour that started in November 2013.On this tour, participants can see how a lit up New York City sparkles during the holidays as the tour bus travels to iconic landmarks and some of the city’s hidden gems featured in classic holiday movies such as Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone 2, Elf, Scrooged, and many more. The tour runs from Black Friday through January 1.

For those interested in seeing New York’s most famous backdrop, the walking tour of Central Park TV & Movie Sites is a tour through this world-famous park, covering more than 30 movie locations. The tour visits the Literary Walk seen in the season finale of Glee, the Boathouse from When Harry Met Sally, the Bandshell from Breakfast at Tiffany's, Bethesda Fountain seen in Enchanted and Wollman Rink used in Serendipity. This tour is available in French, German and Spanish.

The Boston Movie Mile walking tour visits more than 25 locations from movies and TV shows such as Good Will Hunting, The Departed, Blown Away, Cheers and many others.

The bus tours take place on coach buses and include step-off locations for a quick bite to eat and for fun photo opportunities. TV theme songs and video clips from the actual television shows and movies seen on the tour are part of the overall experience. Advance purchase is required and tickets can be purchased by calling Zerve (212) 913-9780, or at Ask about tours in different languages.

About On Location Tours, Inc.: Founded in June of 1999 by Georgette Blau, and is among the largest TV and movie locations tour companies in the world. Since the company’s inception, Blau has been featured in thousands of media outlets all over the world including: People Magazine, ABC's Primetime Live, The Travel Channel’s Road Trip, and Entertainment Weekly. In addition she has founded the Association of Tours of TV and Movies (ATTAM), the first organization to represent TV and movie tour companies around the world. Blau plans to establish TV and movie location tours in additional cities across the U.S.

Scoot inaugural to Berlin


A year after Athens, Scoot launches third long-haul destination with non-stop four-times-weekly Singapore-Berlin flights

Scoot, Asia/Pacific's Best Low Cost Airline for four consecutive years and the low-cost arm of the Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group, launched its inaugural flight to Berlin today, the first of its four-times-weekly non-stop Singapore-Berlin services. The capital city of Germany is Scoot's third long-haul destination after Athens in Greece and Honolulu in the United States, both of which were launched last year.

Scoot's flight TR734 departed Singapore Changi Airport at about 12.25am local time and received a traditional water cannon salute upon arriving at Berlin Tegel Airport at approximately 7.20 am local time today. The aircraft, a widebody Boeing 787 Dreamliner named "Bo Jio", had carried 311 customers - 95% full. Customers originated from Singapore, Indonesia and Australia among other countries, and half of them comprised young adults between 18 and 35 years old. Known for its unique and fun personality, Scoot has been known to organise neon parties, band performances, and even an inflight wedding on board its flights. In line with Berlin's reputation as the party central of Europe, customers of TR734 were invited to take part in an electro dance party and exciting games with prizes.

Mr Lee Lik Hsin, Scoot's CEO, said, "With the addition of Berlin just a year after we successfully launched Athens, and then Honolulu, Scoot's low-cost long-haul network continues to grow at a steady pace. Vibrant, creative and steeped in history, we are confident that the city of Berlin will appeal to any market or demographic, and open a new and exciting part of the continent for travellers."

Scoot's spacious and comfortable state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliners offer several amenities and services suited to long-haul travel, such as inflight Wi-Fi, in-seat power and inflight ScooTV entertainment streamed to guests' own devices. Guests can also choose from a full-leather ScootBiz seat with 38" pitch, 30kg checked-in baggage, and meals and drinks included, or enjoy a peaceful journey in the ScootinSilence economy class quiet zone with seat pitches ranging from 31" up to 35".

Scoot's extensive route network currently spans 65 destinations across 18 countries and territories, with Nanchang to join next month. Its fleet of 17 787 Dreamliners and 24 Airbus A320 family aircraft, with three more Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 39 Airbus A320neo aircraft on order, is slated to increase to about 70 aircraft by 2022. With the addition of Berlin, the SIA Group network in Germany now encompasses four cities, including Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, and Munich, with a total of 29 return services a week.

Book your epic Berlin holiday now at or on the Scoot mobile app

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hong Kong's first Airbus A350-1000 arrives

#FlyCathayA35K #FlyCleaner #FlyBetter #FlyFurther

Aircraft is the catalyst for Cathay Pacific to launch new destinations and provide an enhanced travel experience

Cathay Pacific welcomed the newest member to its fleet as the first of its 20 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft prepares to fly from Toulouse, France to the airline's home of Hong Kong today on a blend of biofuel.

Eight of these aircraft will be delivered this year with the remainder to arrive by 2021. After initial rounds of regional services, starting with its first commercial flight to Taipei on 1 July 2018, the A350-1000 will launch Cathay Pacific's new service to Washington DC on 15 September 2018, which at 8,153 miles makes it the longest on the airline's network.

This technologically-advanced aircraft will also serve Madrid, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Manchester and Zurich from the coming winter.

Cathay Pacific Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Paul Loo said: "We already have one of the youngest long-haul fleets in the sky, and with the arrival of the A350-1000, our fleet is only going to get younger.

"The aircraft follows the successful entry of the -900 variant which has enabled us to expand our long-haul network at a near-unprecedented rate, providing our customers with a wider range of non-stop travel choices, while at the same time strengthening Hong Kong's position as Asia's largest international aviation hub.

"The -1000 is very similar to the -900 in terms of its operational excellence. It has an incredible range, is remarkably fuel efficient and quiet, provides customers with an unsurpassed cabin environment and has extremely attractive operating economics."

In just two years, Cathay Pacific has opened non-stop routes to a slew of destinations served by the A350 fleet, including Barcelona, Brussels, Christchurch, Copenhagen, London Gatwick, Tel Aviv, and, most recently, Dublin. A new A350-900 service to Cape Town will be launched in November.

Powered by the latest technology Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines, the A350-1000 has considerable freight capacity, an important characteristic for Cathay Pacific, one of the world's largest cargo airlines.

Eric Schulz, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer, said: "We are proud to deliver the A350-1000 to our long-standing customer Cathay Pacific. The aircraft brings major advantages in fuel and cost efficiency along with unrivalled passenger comfort. The combination of the world's newest wide-body and Cathay Pacific's world famous in-flight service will ensure that the airline can strengthen its position even further as one of the world's leading international carriers."

Comfort and well-being taken to a new level

The largest variant in the A350 family, Cathay Pacific's A350-1000s will carry a total of 334 passengers across its Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class cabins, 54 more passengers more than the airline's A350-900s.

Passenger comfort was at the heart of our team when they designed the cabins for this new aircraft. Featuring a brand-new Economy Class seat with a larger, higher definition personal television, and an advanced inflight entertainment system and LED mood lighting, the aircraft's cabins are also 50% quieter in perceived levels of external noise.

Furthermore, enhanced Wi-Fi connectivity means passengers can remain connected throughout their journey.

Meanwhile, a higher cabin pressure supplies more oxygen to lower the effective cabin cruising altitude to 6000 ft on the A350-1000, which reduces passenger fatigue and improves their well-being.

Fuelling a greener future

Cathay Pacific has been at the forefront of many initiatives to reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions and like with delivery of its 22 A350-900 aircraft already in operation, all 20 A350-1000s will be flown from Toulouse, the home of Airbus, to Hong Kong using a blend of alternate jet fuel.

Achieving carbon neutral growth from 2020 is an important target for Cathay Pacific and using alternative fuels is one of its pillar initiatives. Compared to traditional jet fuel, sustainable biofuel can reduce life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%.

Cathay Pacific is also the world's first airline to invest in biofuel technology. In 2014 it became an equity investor in US-based Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc., which focuses on turning municipal waste into sustainable aviation fuel.

In May 2018, Fulcrum broke ground on its first commercial-scale plant in Nevada. When the plant begins operations in 2020, it will produce over 10 million gallons of fuel for airlines including Cathay Pacific each year.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Road Trip to Tibet's Village of Happiness

Adventure travel specialist, World Expeditions, is bracing for renewed interest in travel to Tibet, with the opening of a new border crossing and new road access allowing more convenient - and cheaper - travel between Kathmandu in Nepal and Kyirong in Tibet, dubbed the region's 'village of happiness'.

World Expeditions was the first Australian adventure travel company to run commercial treks in Tibet in 1981, and remains one of only a handful of operators offering the iconic overland journey between Kathmandu and Lhasa in September, when the new road linking the two cities is completed. The journey has been more expensive and taken longer since the April 2015 earthquake damaged the Friendship Highway, the main arterial road linking the two cities, forcing travellers to fly in and out of Lhasa and 'backtrack' to the Tibetan capital after an overland exploration.

World Expeditions CEO, Sue Badyari, said the recent opening of a new border post between Nepal and Tibet was welcome news.

"We have been watching with great anticipation since late 2016 when road works recommenced to deliver the trade and tourism route linking Kathmandu to Lhasa," Ms Badyari said. "This is the most enjoyable way to travel into Tibet using what is touted as one of the most scenic high routes in the world and it's great news that it's back to business for Tibet."

The new border post is located west of the Langtang Himal mountain range (the Friendship Highway previously used a border crossing to the east of Langtang) and new access by road opens one of the lesser known parts of Tibet: Kyirong, the 'village of happiness'.

At 2,800m high, Kyirong is known for its subtropical climate and abundant vegetation, both of which are unusual for the Tibetan plateau. It is fondly remembered by Heinrich Harrer in the autobiographical travel classic, 'Seven Years in Tibet' who lamented "I shall never cease thinking of this place with yearning", describing idyllic scenes, such as bamboo-grove, bubbling hot spring, near the banks of an ice-cold glacial river.

The new road means World Expeditions' trips to the region are now at least $500 cheaper without the need for return flights, as well as taking the traditional scenic route:

The 15 day High Road to Lhasa ( is the classic Tibetan journey – an immersive crossing of the Tibetan Plateau from fabled Lhasa to bustling Kathmandu, with a rare opportunity to see Mt Everest from a vantage point close to Everest Base Camp. Now $4,190 per person.

The 18 day Beijing to Kathmandu ( is an epic, journey across China to the high Tibetan Plateau. Now $5,390 per person.

The 20 day Journey to Mount Kailash ( is a 'pilgrimage' trek to Mount Meru, revered in both Hindu and Buddhist legends as the centre of the universe. Now $5,640 per person.

Everest Kangshung Face ( : Cross the Tibetan Plateau and trek to Kangshung, the eastern-facing (and most remote) side of Mount Everest. Now $6,590 per person.

Additional World Expeditions' trips to Tibet, including The Ancient City of Lhasa ( and Beijing to Lhasa Journey (, are unaffected by the changes.

More information at or phone 1300 720 000.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Blue Mountains Winter Festival Cancelled for 2018 - to return in 2019

Katoomba’s Winter Magic festival will not happen in 2018.

The committee voted on January 29 to cancel this year, which would have been the 25th festival. There were concerns from the traffic management company, which said it didn’t want to work on the festival “in its current state”.

Read full report

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Wonder Woman's Madame Tussauds wax figure revealed at #Supanova

The wax figure of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was dramatically revealed in front of an audience of over 15,000 Super hero fans at Supanova Sydney this afternoon.

The extremely lifelike wax figure joins equally lifelike figures of Superman, Batman and The Flash in the newest attraction at Madame Tussauds Sydney, Justice League: A Call for Heroes.

Gal Gadot was blown away by her wax doppleganger, "If you look in my eyes long enough I might blink. Such an honor! Thank you so much Madame Tussauds."

Opening on Saturday 30th June, the new interactive experience allows guests to follow Justice League as they battle the evil LexCorp.

"Australians love the Justice League so we're beyond excited to launch an epic new experience that will enable our guests to be a part of the action this June," said Mark Connolly, General Manager.

"Madame Tussauds Sydney, together with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Entertainment, has created a unique and immersive Justice League experience with exciting plans to unite an all-star cast of DC Super Heroes. It's an unbeatable roster of heroes to the sensational, hi-tech experiences and we can't wait to share it with you all."

Main image credit: Bruce Moyle - Supanova Comic-Con & Gaming.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Give Superman a hand at Madame Tussauds Sydney

Today, Madame Tussauds Sydney has put the challenge to Australia: Are you the country’s biggest Superman or Batman fan? To celebrate the upcoming launch of the world-first Justice League experience, the Darling Harbour attraction has launched a nation-wide search for the biggest superhero fans.

The competition, open to superheros of all ages, calls for Australians with a passion for superhuman action to put their case forward in the form of a video or a series of photos, accompanied with a written response to the question on everybody’s lips: ‘What makes you Australia’s biggest Superman/Batman fan?’

Budding heroes should upload their entry to Facebook or Instagram, tagging the Madame Tussauds Sydney pages and either #SupermanLeague or #BatmanLeague for their chance to win the ultimate title. For those keeping their superhuman status on the DL (down-low) from the mere mortals, privately shared entries are also accepted via the Sydney attraction’s Facebook page.

The two winners – both Batman and Superman’s individual biggest Australian fans – along with a guardian or friend will be flown (the mortal way, sorry…) to Sydney to be the first to meet their idols at the exclusive launch party of the epic, new experience on Thursday 28th June. The winners will also have the chance to meet-and-greet stars of both wax and flesh alike, take home a Justice League prize pack and more!

“We know how much Australians love the Justice League – we’ve had tonnes of requests to welcome their figures to the Madame Tussauds Sydney family over the years! Pair these incredible figures with sensational, hi-tech interactive experiences, and a world-first moving wax figure; the Justice League: Call for Superheros experience is our biggest and best yet!” says Mark Connolly, General Manager.

“We’re beyond excited to launch this epic new experience, and can’t wait to bring along the country’s biggest fan, have them meet their very own hero and be the first to be a part of the action!”

The Justice League: Call for Superheros experience at the Sydney attraction opens on Saturday 30th June, and features an all-star cast of DC Super Heroes in an action-packed adventure unlike any other. Guests will star alongside Justice League’s Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, and Ezra Miller as The Flash as they fight to save the world from Lex Luthor’s evil corporation, LexCorp.

The search for Australia’s biggest Superman and Batman fan commences 12am on Tuesday 5th June and closes at 11.59pm Sunday 17th June. Winners will be contacted privately and announced on Facebook and Instagram on Monday 18th June.

For full competition terms and conditions, tickets and more information, visit or follow Madame Tussuads Sydney on Facebook and Instagram to keep updated with the Justice League journey.

Scenic World to operate Sydney Harbour Bridge tourism - taking over from BridgeClimb

Hammons Holdings - owner of Scenic World in the Blue Mountains- has welcomed its appointment as the new operator of Sydney Harbour Bridge tourism, saying that expanding access and affordability was a key priority in its 20-year vision for the Bridge.

NSW Roads and Maritime Services today announced that Hammons Holdings, a third-generation family-owned tourism business, will have the right to operate climbing and other tourism activities on the Bridge for the next 20 years.

The appointment followed a competitive tender process whose participants included national and international entities.

Hammons Holdings CEO, David Hammon, said Hammons would be drawing on more than 70 years of successful operations at Scenic World to inject new life into the Bridge experience for local, interstate and international visitors.

“It’s a privilege to be entrusted with Bridge tourism operations and we are grateful to the State Government for the opportunity,” Mr Hammon said.

“The Bridge is already an iconic structure, recognised around the world. We want to make it a must-see destination for Sydneysiders and visitors to Sydney, regardless of physical or financial restraints. Our experience building Scenic World into one of Australia’s most popular destinations shows that we can drive visitor numbers and increase economic value while respecting unique heritage and environmental values.

“Our vision is to recreate the people’s Bridge – we will be exploring ways to safely expand access to new areas of the Bridge, use innovative technology to bring the Bridge to life, and make its history and connectivity a more central part of the experience.

“We acknowledge the pioneering work of Paul Cave in developing the Bridge into a popular tourist destination and look forward to working in partnership with the Government to build on that work,” he said.

Hammons Holdings has been operating Scenic World, set on a World-Heritage listed site in the Blue Mountains, for more than 73 years. With a strong safety record achieved in a challenging outdoor environment, Scenic World is now Australia’s most-visited privately-owned attraction, hosting more than one million visitors annually, 60% of whom are international visitors.

Hammons Holdings is also an early-stage investor in Sydney Zoo in Western Sydney. The Sydney Harbour Bridge appointment positions the company to create a corridor of iconic visitor experiences spanning the Bridge, Sydney Zoo and Scenic World.

The end of the line for BridgeClimb Sydney

On 15 June 2018, it was announced by the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) that BridgeClimb Sydney had been unsuccessful in its bid to win a new 20-year contract to operate on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The world-famous experience was also a world first, pioneered and brought to government by our Chairman and Founder Paul Cave.

BridgeClimb has summited 4 million Climbers from over 140 countries since opening on 1 October 1998. BridgeClimb turned the Sydney Harbour Bridge from a postcard to a global bucket list experience. The Climb is renowned as a world-class experience and operation, and has an unblemished safety record, without one serious injury in 20 years.

Paul Cave - saying goodbye to
BridgeClimb after 20 years (Rod Eime)
Every aspect of the experience has been carefully crafted and endlessly innovated by BridgeClimb.

Paul thanked all our Climbers and customers, and praised the team for their individual achievement in creating a globally renowned tourism experience. He thanked all of BridgeClimb’s business and tourism agency partners for their support.

He said ‘it has been a privilege for us to make a hero of the Bridge, and of every Climber on every Climb. We will continue to create unforgettable memories until our final Climber.’

He added ‘our team have worked tirelessly to deliver the ultimate experience of Sydney. Over 1,500 team members have made a hero of the Bridge, and of every single Climber and visitor since 1998. Every one of our past and present team can hold their heads high on what we have created together. The team and our customers are our immediate priority.’

BridgeClimb also thanked the Sydney Harbour Bridge Workers past and present who maintain the mighty Sydney Harbour Bridge.

For all Customers booked up until 30 September 2018, BridgeClimb will be Climbing as usual. For any customers with Climb bookings for after 30 September 2018, BridgeClimb will be in contact when there is further clarity regarding these bookings.

Paul finished,’ we will not be making any further statements at this time. Our focus is on our customers, our team, and on preserving our brand, equipment and expertise for future opportunities.’

Editor's Note: It's official. Sydney attractions operator, Scenic World, will be the new leaseholder for the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. 

Canada throws down the gauntlet to Africa with exceptional wildlife encounters


Canada is rivalling the world's iconic wildlife destinations as a prime location for animal encounters, voted second behind Africa in the Readers' Choice edition of International Traveller magazine.

More than 3000 readers divulged their favourite place, 'Where you go to be one with wildlife and nature', with Canada coming in ahead of New Zealand, Malaysia, and Galapagos.

"Increasingly, Aussie travellers are choosing Canada to tick of their bucket-list dreams, including getting up close with awe-inspiring fauna in their natural habitat," said Donna Campbell, Managing Director, Destination Canada GSA.

"The stunning vistas of the Canadian Rockies, the vast, mountainous wilderness of places like Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories, and the Arctic tundra of Manitoba, are as mind-blowing as the wildlife that live there."

Aussies are exploring Canada in increasing numbers each year, playing wildlife bingo with Canada's 'Big Five'. Just which creatures make up the 'five' is a matter of opinion and could include moose, bear, elk, wolf, whale, bison, caribou, and bighorn sheep, to name a few.

"Our Big Five are frequently encountered during road or boat trips through Canada's west, but Canada's diverse forest habitats mean you're bound to witness unique fauna right across the country, from enormous bison and quirky mountain goats, to our smaller critters, such as beavers, porcupines and countless bird species."

Canada's arctic animals, most easily viewed in the central province of Manitoba, include the polar bear, arctic fox, beluga whale, and the mystical narwhal.

Bird watchers have the best chance of viewing bald eagles in British Columbia, while Witless Bay Ecological Reserve in Newfoundland and Labrador is home to more than 500,000 Atlantic puffins, with their distinctive black and white plumage, and bright orange beaks.

"Whether travelling solo, in a group, or with family, many Aussies are taking advantage of the numerous wildlife packages that are available through local tour operators, taking the stress out of planning their holiday," said Donna.

"Outfitters like Adventure World offer polar bear tours that allow you to come face-to-face with these humbling beasts from the comfort of Polar Rover vehicles, while Intrepid and Canada and Alaska Specialist Holidays provide tours of the Rockies and self-drive itineraries, including world-class whale watching and wildlife spotting."

Other heart-stopping Canadian wildlife experiences include witnessing the thundering caribou migration, locking eyes with the elusive Spirit Bear, snorkelling with friendly beluga whales, and watching the rivers run red during the salmon run, as thousands of fish swim upstream, attracting eagles and other predators along the way.

"Canada's wildlife experiences offer so much more than just animal encounters," said Donna. "Travellers have the chance to immerse themselves in pristine wilderness, learn about the First Nations people who live there still, and get to know the friendly locals, who often become lifelong friends."


Air Canada offers daily direct flights to Vancouver from Sydney and Brisbane. Additionally, Air Canada has now commenced year-round direct flights from Melbourne to Vancouver from June 2018. Direct flights from Sydney to Vancouver are also available on Qantas.

Major Adelaide Airport expansion announced

Work will begin this month on an A$165 million expansion of Adelaide Airport’s main terminal in South Australia.

Announced today, the expansion will significantly improve the arrivals and departures experience for international passengers and create more retail and dining options for domestic and international travellers.

The overall terminal footprint will be increased by 16,500sq m with the retail area growing by more than 80 per cent to 7257sq m.

Due for completion in 2021, the project is the largest upgrade at the airport since the existing terminal was opened in 2005.

Carriers offering international services in and out of Adelaide include China Southern Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand.

International passenger numbers at Adelaide Airport have almost tripled since 2005, highlighting the importance of the upgrade.

International upgrades will include a second, longer baggage belt for arrivals, more space for emigration and immigration processing, expanded security screening, a larger duty free precinct for arrivals and departures, and expanded dining and retail options.

Other improvements include a complete refurbishment of retail areas, a new common user premium international lounge, relocation of the Virgin Australia Lounge and
an expansion of office space for terminal tenants including airlines and regulatory agencies.

Adelaide Airport Managing Director Mark Young said the terminal expansion would allow them to be fit-for-purpose based on growth forecasts.

“Our aim is to provide a seamless, connected experience from the time you drive into the airport until you board your aircraft, and vice versa,” Young said.

“While we still have sufficient gate capacity to meet future forecast growth in the number of flights, we’re reaching capacity within the terminal.

Adelaide Airport Chairman Rob Chapman said creating additional space would open up more options when negotiating new services and destinations with international airline partners.

“We believe Adelaide Airport has the best airport terminal in Australia, and this expansion will allow us to continue to offer the high level of customer service that our travellers expect,” he said.

A $50 million, 165-room Atura hotel with direct links to the existing terminal is expected to open in the December 2018 Quarter.

South Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway said the redevelopment will help South Australia attract more international airlines and accommodate more air services.

“It’s certainly very encouraging to see private sector investment of this scale in South Australia and I would like to congratulate Adelaide Airport on this significant investment,” he said.

Traveloscopy | 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Let Lake Macquarie Float Your Boat #NSW

Flotilla of boats set to light up the Lake

Lake Macquarie is set to twinkle this month with dozens of boats lighting up winter skies during the region's perennial favourite boating regatta Float Your Boat – an event where passionate boat owners are encouraged to decorate their vessels and take part in a parade around the Lake.

The event, hosted by Lake Macquarie City Council, presents boating fans an opportunity to decorate their vessels with lights and colour in a dazzling display of creativity and, to literally, light up the Lake. Last year's inaugural Float Your Boat event had more than 23 boats extravagantly decorated with an array of lights - from whales and turtles to dragons and stars, leaving spectators eager to see what competitors bring to the Lake this year.

Held on June 22 and 23, and with $4000 in cash prizes on offer, the event will feature two flotilla parades following a course from Marmong Point Marina to Toronto, Coal Point, Fishing Point and Wangi Wangi on the first night, and then on the second night, from Marmong Point Marina to Warners Bay, Eleebana and Valentine to Belmont.

Spectators will delight in the foreshore celebrations featuring live music, food and entertainment. While this may seem all fun and games, the night also requires a little more than just sitting back and enjoying the passing floating light displays.  The community's judgement is needed to cast their votes on social media for the People's Choice Award – that comes with a prize of $2000. Additional prizes packages include two Mayor's Best Boat Awards, 10m and over, and 5m and over – each with a prize value of $1000.

Spectators aren't forgotten when it comes to amazing prizes either. Float Your Boat will also offer a chance to win a $1500 boat cruise by uploading event photos on social media with the hashtag, #fyb2018.

Float Your Boat holds its place as one of Lake Macquarie favourite family friendly events and it's easy to see why.

Why not make a weekend of it?

Winter dining on the Lake

In times of cooler weather, dining on the Lake takes on a magical quality, with heated outdoor areas, cosy winter menus and seasonal events aplenty. The iconic Salina is offering a new menu in its intimate heated courtyard, and Crusoe's on the Lake showcases a stunning view and menu that's equally inviting.

Cosy accommodation

There's a wide range of cosy accommodation to enjoy during your Lake Macquarie getaway, from mountain hideaways to lakeside retreats to ward off the winter chill:

The Esplanade Motel, Warners Bay

Shack up lakeside in the newly renovated Esplanade Motel, conveniently situated just a stone's throw from the boutiques and restaurants of Warners Bay, and a short stroll to the northern end of the Lake.

Bluebell Retreat

Set on the eastern shore of the Lake, Bluebell Retreat is the ultimate relaxation retreat. Enjoy the expansive bushland setting and prime water views to watch the winter sun set at this eco-award winning house, which accommodates up to six.

Caves Coastal Bar and Bungalows

Enjoying a prime position in the dunes, Caves Beachside Hotel offers a mix of beach suites, villas and townhouses accessed by Hamptons-style timber boardwalks. Enjoy incredible sunset views from your balcony, or soak up the winter rays by the pool.

Selby Cottage

A turn of the century charming blue weatherboard, nestled on the banks of Lake Macquarie, is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Selby Cottage is a self-contained private cottage surrounded by luscious gardens with water lapping the veranda.

To plan your winter adventure or discover more of what Lake Macquarie has to offer, please visit:

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Helsinki in heavy metal alliance with Tallinn


In Finland, a tough competition is underway to see which city earns the global title of Capital of Metal. We already know that Finland has more metal bands per capita than any other country. Now, The Capital of Metal campaign is determining which Finnish city deserves to be known internationally as the Capital of Metal. As the end of the contest draws closer, the top places are occupied by two eastern Finnish locations: Lemi and Joensuu. This represents a significant challenge to the national capital, Helsinki. In response, it is reaching out with an international request for help. Helsinki proposes forming a double metropolis together with its neighbour across the Gulf of Finland: Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

Helsinki's elected officials and its metal fans believe that Helsinki needs to up the ante in view of Eastern Finland's domination of the contest. To this end, Helsinki is asking Tallinn to join it and form a double city, Hellinn, allowing Estonian metal bands to lend Helsinki a hand.

"Helsinki is a focal point for metal fans everywhere, and it's the home of the Tuska Festival," says Nasima Razmyar, Helsinki's deputy mayor for culture and leisure. "We deserve the title Capital of Metal, but as is often the case, you attain success by reaching out to strategic partners. That's why we're suggesting teaming up with Tallinn. In this fierce contest, the strength of the greater Helsinki metropolitan area is coming up short against the leading duo of Lemi and Joensuu. We need an international boost."

As part of the new Hellinn region, Estonian bands would be able to visit the Capital of Metal website and join forces with their peers in Helsinki. This would also represent a step towards the long-awaited process of making the two cities into a unified region.

"Metal music knows no borders," says Jussi69, a mainstay of metal in Helsinki and a member of the band The 69 Eyes. "We believe that Tallinn's metal bands and fans will answer our call. Together we'll raise the flag of a new, double city – long live Hellinn! Long live rock, peace and love!"

Capital of Metal contest continues through June 20

Finnish bands can add their info to the Capital of Metal website through June 20. The organisers will announce the winner of the Capital of Metal title – the municipality with the most metal bands per capita – on June 21. If the heavy metal brothers and sisters of Estonia decide to heed Helsinki's call and contribute their help, then bands from Estonia can also participate in the remaining phase of the campaign. The request is being submitted to the City of Tallinn and the Estonian metal community. Helsinki looks forward to hearing their response.

Fans of Finnish heavy metal around the world can participate by "liking" their favourite bands on the Capital of Metal website: Participating bands and fans enter a draw for record shop gift certificates. Participants tagging Estonian bands to Hellinn on the website also have a chance to win a VIP trip to Tuska Open Air Metal Festival in Helsinki June 29 – July 1.

The Capital of Metal campaign is backed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Sony Music Finland, Tuska Open Air Metal Festival, Musamaailma instrument and gear shop, Record Shop X and the cities of Helsinki, Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Kemi, Kuopio, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Oulu, Tampere and Vaasa – as well as all the other metal cities and towns of Finland, of course.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Australia’s largest hotel fish-tank revealed

Australia’s largest hotel fish-tank has been unveiled at the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour today, providing a spectacularly vivid welcome to Sydney for visitors from around the world.

The aquarium is a central focus for all guests arriving at the hotel, with the 12 metre, 12,000 litres fish-tank boasting over 50 marine species, including many fish varieties from ‘The Tank Gang’, which starred in ‘Finding Nemo’, the famous animated film set in Sydney Harbour and along Australia’s east coast..

The tropical aquarium is designed to evoke Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and features many of the fish that appeared in Nemo, such as the Ocellaris Orange Clownfish, Ocellaris Black and White Clownfish, and Damselfish, along with Barrier Reef Chromis, Green Chromis, Humbugs, Blue Lined Surgeon, and Flame Anthias.

The giant fish-tank is the inspiration of the Sofitel’s owner, Dr Jerry Schwartz, who has introduced aquariums to a number of his other hotels in Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

“Australia is dominated by its seascape, and we wanted to give visitors a really meaningful and vivid experience when they checked in,” said Dr Schwartz.

“We have had tremendous reactions wherever we’ve installed fish-tanks because they are not only so colourful, they provide a very calming experience, especially after someone has flown around the world to get to Sydney.

“Of course, this aquarium had to be particularly memorable given that the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour was the city’s first new-build international 5-star hotel this millennium and is housed in such a prominent building.

“Just like our guests, the fish originate from all over the world, and even if our guests can’t get to places like the Great Barrier Reef to see ‘Nemo’ and his friends in the wild, they will be able to appreciate them during their stay in Sydney”.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Fiji Airways to be first oneworld connect partner

Introducing oneworld connect - a new way for airlines to link to the world's premier alliance

·      Fiji Airways to be first oneworld connect partner
·      Talks progressing with other carriers from around the world

oneworld today launches a new platform for linking up to the world's premier airline alliance – enabling customers to enjoy more services and benefits across an even more extensive global network.

The first airline to join in the new capacity as a oneworld connect partner will be Fiji Airways.

A date will be announced in due course for when Fiji Airways will start offering oneworld connect services and benefits (see below).  Meantime, it is business as usual.

oneworld connect is the first new membership platform unveiled by oneworld since the alliance was originally announced 20 years ago.

oneworld is in discussion with other carriers interested in participating in the programme, from various parts of the world including the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

Each oneworld connect partner will need to have a minimum of three oneworld members as its sponsors to be initiated into the programme.  The initial oneworld sponsors of Fiji Airways will be all four of oneworld's original founding members - American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas.  The Australian carrier will additionally mentor Fiji Airways through its oneworld connect implementation process.

American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Qantas already code-share and have frequent flyer links with Fiji Airways.  British Airways and Fiji Airways are currently discussing areas for potential bilateral cooperation.

What oneworld connect means for customers

oneworld connect partners will provide select alliance benefits to frequent flyers from any oneworld member airline travelling on their flights, with a more extensive range of benefits offered with their oneworld sponsors.

Customers with Emerald, Sapphire or Ruby status in any oneworld member airline's frequent flyer programme will be able to use priority check-in desks, where available.  Also, customers with Emerald or Sapphire status will be offered priority boarding.

The additional benefits offered by oneworld connect partners to customers from their oneworld sponsors and vice versa include:

·      Through check-in of passengers and their baggage for journeys including connections between a connect carrier and any of its oneworld sponsors.

·      The ability to earn and redeem frequent flyer rewards, and earn frequent flyer status points, for eligible flights.  (For customers from oneworld connect airlines, these benefits depend on the oneworld connect partner offering a frequent flyer programme.)

·      Access to select lounges at key airports for First or Business Class passengers or those with eligible top-tier frequent flyer status.

Select other customer benefits may also be offered between oneworld connect partners and their oneworld sponsor airlines.

All oneworld connect partners will make their networks available via Global Explorer, the round-the-world fare offered by all oneworld members and select other airlines.   Fiji Airways already does so.

All oneworld connect partners will be required to maintain IATA IOSA safety certification.

oneworld's regular range of services and benefits remain in place for customers flying with the alliance's full member airlines and their affiliates.

CEOs explain oneworld connect's strategic rationale

oneworld Governing Board Chairman Pekka Vauramo, CEO of Finnair, said: "In the 20 years since oneworld's conception in 1998, global airline alliances have expanded their breadth to the extent that they now account for 60 per cent of total industry revenues and capacity globally, and 70 per cent of revenues between the world's top 125 business city airports.

"With most of the world's biggest airlines already signed up, global airline alliances have reached maturity, In the future, oneworld will target as full members large airlines that have a significant presence in the alliance's prime target market, providing connections between the world's leading business centres.  Meantime, oneworld connect enables us to bring together more airlines to complement the alliance's global leaders, so customers can earn rewards and feel recognised while travelling even further."

oneworld CEO Rob Gurney added: "oneworld's current network of more than 1,000 destinations in 150 plus territories offers far-reaching global coverage, but there are still some regions where we would like to strengthen our presence further.  With fewer potential new candidates available to recruit based on our established membership criteria, oneworld connect enables us to link up with other airlines whose networks are relevant to a subset of our members, who cannot meet oneworld's full membership requirements at this stage or who are not interested in full membership at present.

"This enables us and them to offer our customers more services and benefits across an even wider network and strengthen our relationship going forward, with a streamlined and rapid path to full membership later on where it makes sense for all parties."

Fiji Airways CEO Andre Viljoenstated: "Fiji Airways is thrilled and honoured to be the first oneworld connect partner globally.  We are delighted to link Fiji, and the South Pacific to  the world's premier airline alliance and further deepen our relationships in particular with Qantas, American Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific.  This important step for our airline enables us to offer more services and benefits to our own customers along with the others in the oneworld family, to achieve a greater presence for our airline internationally and to build on the in-bound tourism that is so vital to our home nation and our region."

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: "As a oneworld founding member, it is great to see the alliance evolve to bring additional benefits to more customers and expand its joint network. We've worked closely with Fiji Airways for many years and are pleased to serve as its mentor as it comes on board as the first oneworld connect partner."

American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parkeradded: "As another oneworld founding member, American Airlines is excited to be playing our part in this latest key development for what has become the world's premier airline alliance, now making access to the South Pacific more attractive than ever."

British Airways Chairman and CEO Alex Cruzstated: "British Airways looks forward to developing links with Fiji Airways as a oneworld connect partner and sponsor, for the benefit of both our airlines, our customers and the wider oneworld community."

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Officer Rupert Hoggconcluded: "Cathay Pacific was proud to play our part in founding oneworld 20 years ago and establishing it as the leading quality alliance – and we are proud today to be playing our part again in getting this exciting new membership platform oneworld connect off the ground, as a sponsor of our long-term code-share partner Fiji Airways."

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places